'Mayuga report remiss in many aspects'

by Ira Pedrasa, abs-cbnNEWS.com

Posted at Aug 18 2011 02:41 PM | Updated as of Aug 19 2011 11:28 AM

MANILA, Philippines - One of the top military officers who had been detained for testifying against former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has agreed with lawmakers that the so-called Mayuga report failed in many accounts.

In an interview with ANC, former Brig. Gen. Francisco Gudani said “with due respect to my classmate [retired Navy chief Vice Admiral Mateo Mayuga], I think they had been remiss in many aspects.”

Gudani was one of those invited during the investigation of the 2004 poll fraud by the panel headed by Mayuga.

The report was only recently declassified coming on the heels of recent revelations of several witnesses to the cheating.

Bayan Muna lawmakers said, however, the report may have cleared the “Hello, Garci” general of any wrongdoings.

“It’s very hard to read the hearts and minds of all... Parang somebody ordered them to go ahead with investigation but ‘I want the bottomline to be like this’..,” Gudani said.

He added the recommendations of the years-old report were “open-ended, not conclusive…Although it was very clear that there was violation.”

He specifically noted that his relief order then was signed by the Armed Forces South Command chief, “which was very clear he violated election laws because it can’t be done unless Comelec will say.”

During an election year, the reshuffle of military personnel is strictly prohibited.

Damning evidence

The release of the Mayuga report is precisely one of the reasons why Bayan Muna lawmakers are pushing for a probe into the 2004 polls.

Also in an interview with ANC, Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said Mayuga and the rest of the panel will be invited if the probe pushes through.

He said the “damning evidence” is against the Mayuga panel for allegedly covering up the faults of many military men during that time. He reiterated the testimonies and pieces of evidence in the 2,000+ page of the report show signs of cheating in the 2004 elections.

“The issue is not what questions they asked but what they failed to ask,” Colmenares said.

He cited, for example, why the panel failed to follow-up or dig deeper into the following issues:

- an officer was ordered to loosen security in precincts. “That’s a very loaded answer,” Colmenares said.
- There was admission that some officers received cash. “The panel should have asked is, why was the cash not liquidated? If from a private fund, who was the financier?”
- A security aide of then Comelec Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano admitted they were in Tawi-Tawi or Basilan during the questionable period. “I remember Garcillano saying he did not visit Mindanao at that time.”
- Then First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo sent 2 choppers during a canvassing.

Colmenares also noted some of the military personnel and officers invited did not submit to an oath.

“That is a big question for me...Taking an oath is necessary for an investigation to be highly credible,” he said.

He noted some witnesses even gave their testimonies under oath.